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Diet and Nutrition: The Building Blocks of Your Child

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Author: Dr. Lisa Doran, ND Ajax, ON

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Diet and Nutrition: The Building Blocks of Your Child’s Immune System

Breastfeeding your child gives them an advantage immunologically since breastmilk contains antibodies formed in the mother's body to prevent the child from becoming ill. Also, breastmilk is the perfect food for babies and will build healthy bodies and immune systems. 

Eat live, whole, fresh foods. A live food is one which is fresh and which still contains all the nutrients which were in it while it was growing. Examples are fresh fruits and vegetables. Whole foods are foods which are unprocessed, unaltered and still in nature’s own packaging. Examples are nuts, seeds, grains and legumes 

Essential fatty acids such as flax seed oil keep white blood cells healthy  a child cannot make these nutrients they must come from the foods they eat. They are found in nuts, seeds, beans and fish (remember getting cod liver oil in the winter to keep you from getting sick?). 

Important nutrients for a healthy Immune System: Calcium (600-800 mg), Magnesium (100-250 mg), Iron (production of white and red blood cells), Zinc (12 mg) (especially important in the growth and development of white blood cells, also keeps the thymus gland healthy and productive, also plays a role in the development of the brain). 

Keep non nutrients out of the child’s diet: sugar, partially hydrogenated fats (hydrogenation destroys EFAs), sodium, added phosphates and pesticides.  

Ear Aches


Breastfeeding is known to protect against ear infections. Studies have shown that the longer a baby is breast fed, the less likely they are to get ear infection. This seems to be partly because of the antibodies that mother’s milk contains, and partly because nursing precludes the use of cow’s milk, a common food allergen in young children.

You can help keep your older child healthy by eating lots of live, whole foods. The vitamins and minerals in whole foods build a strong immune system to fight infection. Offering a variety of raw or lightly steamed vegetables, especially onions, garlic, raw carrots or carrot juice will reduce mucous that builds up in the middle ear.

Conventional Treatment

Conventional treatment is antibiotics. Kids who are treated more frequently with antibiotics have more infections. The problem with antibiotics is that they often have side effects (abdominal discomfort, stomach pain) and they don’t build the immune system. Antibiotics aren’t picky, they also kill helpful bacteria in the intestines, leaving fertile ground for the overgrowth of harmful yeast such as Candida. It is currently accepted in the Naturopathic community that antibiotics remove the opportunity for the immune system to develop itself in fighting current and future infections.

Naturopathic Treatment

During an earache, avoiding dairy products, refined foods and sweets will reward you with speedier recovery and a happier child. Keep the child well hydrated, providing water, teas and diluted fruit juices. Avoid giving the child a bottle to suck while lying down flat on his back.

Onion Compress

  1. Chop an onion, sauté for two minutes or until the onion is translucent. Place the onion in a cotton handkerchief and fold the sides over the onion so that the onion is completely covered. Make a nice little package.
  2. Place the package on the ear so that one half of the onion is on the front of the ear and the other behind. Secure the handkerchief package with a wool scarf or hat.

Wet Sock Treatment

  1. Soak the feet in a hot footbath for 10 minutes.
  2. Wet one pair of cold socks with cold water. Wring out the socks well, put them on feet and immediately cover them with a pair of dry wool socks.
  3. Go to bed!

This treatment can be repeated once a day for 3 days.

Massage the Ear

Massaging can keep the Eustachian tubes open and prevent ear inflammation

Warm Ear Oil

Place several chopped cloves of garlic into olive oil. Place this oil and garlic mixture in a sunny window for two days to allow the antibacterial qualities of the garlic to infuse into the olive oil. Use 3-4 drops of gently warmed oil into the ear several times a day.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

ADD kids are usually allergic kids. Dr. Doris Rapp has stated that 65% of children on Ritalin improved with diet modifications alone, many more with proper nutrient supplementation. This indicates that the number one culprit affecting a diagnosis of ADD may be our children’s nutrition. Refined white sugar and preservatives are the most common causes of food sensitivities. Sensitivities to milk products is also a common concern. Banning all forms of refined sugar in your household for a period of 4-6 weeks is often a successful test of this theory.

10 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Attention Span

  1. Provide a balanced breakfast
  2. Limit television, computer games and video games
  3. Supplement with sufficient Magnesium (300mg/day)
  4. Supplement with Essential Fatty Acids such as flax seed oil
  5. Provide many opportunities for physical movement and outdoor play
  6. Honour the rhythms of the day, and the rhythms of the seasons
  7. Provide hands-on activities
  8. Offer your child real-life tasks
  9. Give your child choices
  10. Use touch to soothe and calm

Kitchen Cupboard First Aid for Kids

Cuts and Bruises: Clean area very well and remove all debris in wound. Avoid bandaging. Homeopathic Arnica, Calendula cream, witch hazel. Give a dose of rescue remedy if the child is upset.

Insect bites: Calendula ointment or tincture, or tea tree oil. Also, fresh aloe, Vitamin E oil, Lemon juice, vinegar, fresh plantain poultice will help relieve pain and inflammation.

Kid Safe Insect Repellent: The essential oils of garlic, pennyroyal, citronella, bergamont and lavender in a base of almond oil or fragrance free hand cream. Needs to be applied every 2-3 hours.

Bees and Wasp stings: Remove the stinger using a flat surfaced object (credit card). Do not squeeze the stinger out as this will cause more venom to empty into the victim from the venom sac. Apply cold compresses. Place ½ of an onion over the bite to help to inactivate the venom. Baking soda past and cool chamomile or lavender tea will also work. Homeopathic Ledum or Apis

Sunburn: Dip some gauze into milk and apply it to your sunburned skin for 20 minutes. Soak in a tub with one cup of cider vinegar added to the water. Dab witch hazel on burn. Oatmeal bath – fill an old stocking with raw whole oats. Run hot water over the oats – the water will turn milky. Soak for at least 20 minutes. There are also commercial preparations of oatmeal baths available at drug stores. Aveeno has a line of oatmeal products for burns and itching.

For more information about Lisa Doran visit
20 Holly Street, Suite 200, Toronto, ON M4S 3B1
Tel: (416) 496-8633   Toll Free: 1-800-551-4381